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Combinatorial synthesis of peptide arrays with a laser printer

Activity Code: HEALTH-2007-1.1-4
Coordinator:Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)


Our particle-based method allows us to synthesise high complexity peptide arrays by combinatorial synthesis and for an unrivalled prize. We plan to further develop this new technology up to the level of robust prototype machines, and mate it to bioinformatics and readout tools. Together, our procedure(s) should boost the field of proteomics in a similar way as the lithographic technologies did with the field of genomics. Central to our novel method are the activated chemical building blocks that are “frozen” within solid amino acid particles. Thereby, we can use a colour laser printer to send them to defined addresses on a 2D support, where the particles are simply melted to induce a spatially defined coupling reaction of now freed amino acid derivatives. By repeated printing and melting cycles this simple trick yields high complexity peptide arrays. Based on existing pre-prototypes, we will develop a user-friendly peptide laser printer that spatially defined addresses our 20 different amino acid toners in high resolution to a support (WP1), and a scanner that especially fast and sensitive reads out the large formats delivered by the peptide laser printer (WP2). The increased production of amino acid toners and array supports are other bottlenecks in the output of peptide arrays that are tackled in WP3. This should allow us to increase the output of individual peptide spots from currently 0,5 Million to 10 Million peptides per month. Finally, to foster a market for high complexity peptide arrays, we will work out paradigmatic application examples in WP4. These aim to directly screen for antibiotic or apoptosis inducing D-peptides, and for the comprehensive readout of the different antibodies that patrol the serum of autoimmune patients. Based on user-friendly prototype machines, on first paradigmatic application examples for high complexity peptide arrays, and shielded by a strong patent, the participating SMEs will commercialise this new technology.

Project Details:

Start Date:  01.12.2008
End Date: 31.12.2011
EU Contribution:  2.99 Mio. Euro
Total Costs: 4.03 Mio. Euro
Funding Scheme: Collaborative Project (Small or medium-scale focused research project targeted to SMEs)
Administrative Contact Person: Frank Breitling, frank.breitling@kit.edu


  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • KMS Automation GmbH, Germany
  • Microsystems ltd., Bulgaria
  • Pepperprint GmbH, Germany
  • Aims Scientific Products GmbH, Germany 
  • Technical University of Varna, Bulgaria
  • Bioinfobank Institute, Poland
  • Upper Austrian Research GmbH, Austria
  • Selvita Spolka z Organiczona Odpowiedzialnoscia, Poland
  • Akatech Produktions- und Handels GmbH, Austria
  • Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Germany
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V., Germany